Gooseberry Island

17 Jan

GooseberryIsland(SKIP IT)

Author: Steven Manchester

Genre: Romance

First Published: 2014

Page Count: 300

Type: Paperback

Film/ TV Adaptation: No

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Manchester tries to find a happy medium between long distance love story and traumatic war story, but it ultimately feels like two different books.


*Intriguing War Story


*Unbelievable Love Story    *Disjointed Plot

I must admit that this is not a perfect world that we live in, but it’s all we have, so it’s important to make the most of it.” David McClain is shipping out for a dangerous and life changing tour in Afghanistan when he meets the woman of his dreams, Lindsey Wood. Their new love blossoms through emails, love notes, and Skype sessions, but the horrors David faces in war inevitably put a strain on their relationship. Will their love be able to survive the invisible scars that David brings back from war even once the fighting has ended?

Books involving the military, especially in the romance section tend to really move me, so I was excited when I saw that Manchester’s new book centered around this theme. The sections of the book where David is at war in Afghanistan, his struggles with  PTSD, and Lindsey’s father’s struggle with his own PTSD were action packed and thrilling. This was where I found the book the most interesting and real. Unfortunately, the book really slowed down once the focus shifted from the military aspects of the story.

The thing that probably doomed the book from the beginning for me was that the relationship between David and Lindsey felt unbelievable. There is certainly the possibility that when they first met they felt chemistry, but to jump to full-blown love for each other just didn’t work for me. Even with Skype and email, only knowing someone one night and then not seeing them for a year would cause any flame to simmer. This is also why I enjoyed the military aspect of the book; I could avoid the relationship I didn’t believe in. However, this also made the book feel disjointed. Sure, David would mention Lindsey while at war, but you get so caught up in his fight that you forget about the other part of the story which is this new love that he’s trying to build. And then his struggle with PTSD takes a backseat at the end in favor of the flourishing love between him and Lindsey. Maybe the point is her love saved him from the mental disease, but since I never really felt strongly about their relationship that is a hard thing to sell me on.

I was hopeful that I would enjoy this new book by Manchester, but after careful thought I had to give it a “skip it” rating. There are good aspects to the story such as the powerful ending or the equally powerful war scenes. However, a romance book must have a strong love story and that was where I struggled. I know Manchester is capable of great writing, moving stories, and relatable characters, but, in this case, I’d say try some of the other books he’s written that I’ve reviewed and enjoyed much more.

*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.


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